10x content refers to content which is 10 times better than the best available search result in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for a given keyword or phrase. The term was first coined by Rand Fishkin over a year ago in Moz's whiteboard Friday episode on “Why Good Unique Content Needs to Die”. Now 10x has become the buzzword for content marketers.
Content Quality Scale by Rand Fishkin
Rank Fishkin has put together a content quality scale to help you understand 10X content better. Take a look at the graph below:
Rand has compared the effort required to create content via-a-vis the quality expected in each of the given scenarios.
Based on the graph, you can assume the following outcomes.
Lowest Quality Content: Panda Invasion
Many folks choose to hire content writers on Fiverr because it costs them very little. While it can save you money, you get extremely low quality content making your website a potential candidate for Panda penalty.
Simply put, it’s a recipe for failure.
Mediocre Content: Majority of Searchers Click Back
Not everybody is equipped with the experience it takes to write quality content. If you choose, an intern to write content for your site, the best they maybe able do is dish out mediocre content which may not offer great value to your site visitors. Hence, most of them may click the back button and leave your site immediately.
Unique Content: No Competitive Advantage
If you’re an SEO professional, odds are that hear this phrase very often. Unique content is great because it is created to offer value to your audience. As Rand puts it, it might take a whole weekend to write it.
But, the problem with unique content is that there is no competitive advantage here, it’s just another piece of content in the search of information. Google may not think of it highly enough, however your website will be safe from potential algorithmic updates.
Best Quality Content: Can Compete with the 1st Page
The best quality content gets you to the top of the SERP, but it may not be enough to help you stay there unless it offers unbeatable value. This is precisely the reason why many brands find it hard to sustain their top rankings. As Rand says, this is the minimum bar in the modern SEO industry.
Pro Tip: Try to get past this bar if you want to establish your brand authority.
10X Content: Goes Beyond the Best in SERPs
10X content is the gold standards in content marketing. It not only provides the best value to the user, but also a unique perspective on the topic. It’s hard to beat and even harder to sustain. According to Rand, there’s simply no way to scale this content.
Why 10X Content is Such a Big Deal Today?
Go Big or Go Home! Blame it on the fiercely competitive marketing landscape we live in, writing unique content won’t cut it. The bar has gone way higher.
Good unique content was great in the dog years of internet where there were very few relevant results in most of the fields. However, over the years, content has grown exponentially and now there are a few dozen good results for most of the searched topics.
From the statistics shared by AOL and Nielsen, over 27 million pieces of content are shared every day and this has resulted in content saturation. Almost everyone can create this content so standing out is really hard.
How to Identify 10X Content
Before you plan to create content that is 10 times better than the content already ranking at the top of SERP, it’s important to understand what 10X content typically consists of.
According to Rand Fishkin, 10X content meets some or all of the following criteria.
10X content is designed to load quickly and be viewable on a wide range of devices. It doesn’t have to be all text, but could include graphs/infographics making it easy for the audience to consume the info quickly and easily.
As mentioned earlier, 10X content is ten times better than the results on the 1st page of Google. In order to attain that awesomeness, your content should be uniquely valuable and considerably different from the top results on SERP’s.
10X content offers solutions in ways that have never been seen before. It is highly trustworthy, very useful, super interesting and so irresistible that you can’t help but share it with your friends and co-workers.
10X content elicits a range of emotions from the user while they are interacting with it. From joy to surprise to awe, it can provoke readers to actively engage and interact.
10X content is comprehensive – it provides a detailed solution with accurate information, offering in-depth insights into the topic.
Worthy of Amplification:
Because of the sheer value it provides and the impact it generates, 10X content tends to get easy and quick amplification. It generates considerable social traction and backlinks from various sources of authority.
Why 10X Content? Is It Worth the Effort?
We live in the age where people are becoming more sceptic about marketing messages, thanks to the onslaught of promotions they have to wade through every day. Therefore, it’s imperative that marketers should carefully craft their content in order to deliver exceptional value.
This is where 10X content comes into picture.
According to Larry Kim, the founder of WordStream, their site’s best articles drive substantially more traffic than the rest. As a matter of fact, half of WordStream’s monthly traffic comes from its top 50 articles.
WordStream drives about a million monthly uniques. To put that into perspective, each of these top 50 articles gets about 10,000 unique views on a monthly basis.
How to Create 10X Content
We have formulated the below simple step by step approach which could help content marketers build 10x content.
Identify What Users Seek
Before building content, as a blogger you must first understand your target audience and the pressing questions in their mind. This will give you an idea on the topics and the kind of content you need to invest on building.
There are several tools and websites which will help you in finding this.
- Google autocomplete
- Keyword planning tools- e.g.- Google keyword planner
- Consumer discussion forums
- Social media groups
- Google search console
- Quora, Reddit, Yahoo Answers
- Questions on existing popular blog posts
Users could post their concerns and queries on any of the above mentioned platforms. As active bloggers, it becomes essential that you constantly go through these sites so that you don’t miss out on any opportunity to serve your target audience with the kind of content they are looking for.
When I first started writing on 10x content, I went on to Google autocomplete and learned that users are looking for 10x content principles and examples.
Analyze Google’s Best Results
Once you decide the topic and the area you are going to write about based on popular search results, make sure that you devote a considerable amount of time reading the work that is already available in the field. This will ensure you don’t replicate what is already there.
Here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself while analyzing the results.
- What solution is the website trying to provide to the reader?
- How does their content stand out from their peers?
- What could they have done to provide more value to their readers?
- What is the overall value of the content? Did these brands actually create exceptional content or are they simply the best known brands and coasting along on minimal investment?
Also understand how the best search results have answered the query you are going to address in your blog post. Without this, it is impossible to write content which is 10 times better than the best available search result.
Quote Findings from Surveys and Studies
When you are writing the article, it is not necessary that the entire content is original, word by word. At many places, you may have to quote information from other articles with references or you might use survey findings to emphasize a point you are trying to prove.
You could also use infographics and other visual elements by giving credits to the creator. So it is important that you have a strong command over the available information and various studies in all related fields.
Create Better Visual Experience
Now that you know what is already available in the space, you need to figure out how your content can add value. This is the most important step in the entire process because a lot of people would dump your content if it’s not scannable and readable on their mobile devices.
There are several ways in which you can enhance user experience:
Simplify the existing content for better understanding.
This may be in terms of technicality or in terms of text. Users would prefer understanding a particular topic with the help of a few graphs and charts rather than detailed lengthy paragraphs explaining the same information. So if you find existing content to be lengthy and lacking visual elements, add spice by explaining the same thing using graphs.
Add graphic content like images, gifs, and interactive media.
Interactive media is not entirely new, but it still remains one of the most attractive elements in articles.
Give in depth and comprehensive information about the chosen topic.
There may be several relevant articles in the same topic, but each article may cover a certain different sub heading within the topic. So you can enhance user experience by combining all the information under one roof, making it easier for users to find all what they need.
Reminder: Your target audience is looking for long in depth, well-researched articles and not shallow pieces which leave half of their queries unaddressed.
Ensure Great UI/UX
For your content to be considered 10x, it not sufficient if you have great content alone, it is equally important to have a great user interface.
Content should load quickly on all devices like PCs laptops, mobiles and tablets. The website design should be mobile responsive.
Google has continuously stated that responsive designs get a SERP ranking boost. All your visual content as well as text content should be legible on mobile devices.
This is an important parameter for your content to be considered 10x.
Understanding 10x content better with the help of few examples.
1) This is how fast America changes its mind
The above article is clearly an example of 10x content. It describes how the views of people have changed over the years from 1787 to 2015 in the USA. Ideally this would require in depth descriptions leading to a humongous article but Bloomberg has depicted the same information using six graphs.
2) Why you shouldn’t exercise to lose weight, explained with 60+ studies
They comprehensively compare and contrast over 60+ studies on not exercising to lose weight, enlightening users about why this is a myth in around 4000 words.
Creating 10x content isn’t easy – and you can’t really create 10x content on a daily basis because it requires investment of time in research. In fact, you needn’t really create 10x content very frequently to succeed.
Brian Dean has created 30-odd posts on his blog since 2015, but, as per Similar Web, it drives an estimated 1.5 million monthly visits. Brian Dean has done an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Inbound.org where he has practically spilled the beans.
One thing is for sure – if you want to publish 10x content, you need to spend 10 times more time than you would normally spend on a standard post.
Author Bio:Soupa Soundararajan is a digital marketing professional with over four years of experience. She is a gold medalist in marketing management from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management. Prior to MBA, she has done engineering in electronics and communication. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, photography and reading. Follow her on Twitter: @ssoupa